There is a debate in full swing about the direction conservatives should take in the future between New York Post editorial page editor, Sohrab Ahmari, and Vichy Republican David French. I’ll post more on this in the coming week but, boiled down to their essentials, Ahmari thinks we are in a existential fight for cultural survival and the only way forward is for conservatives to control as many levers of power as possible. French thinks being invited to the right parties and being able to wander about the lido deck with a fruity drink and chat with Important People is the most important thing, and so he believes we should focus on trying to win over the left with our arguments. While I think that Ahmari may go a bit far, I know that French is nothing more than a Judas goat leading us to cultural extinction.
Case in point.
The Bishop of Providence, RI, sent out this tweet on Saturday.
There is nothing at all controversial about this statement. If you are actually a Catholic, not just a smells-and-bells type but one who lives the Faith, you can’t attend events where your presence might lead others to believe the behavior there or the the actions being celebrated are okay. These so-called “Pride” events celebrate aberrant sexual behavior and proclaim that behavior to be normal. For a bishop to not issue such a warning is, in my view, pastoral malpractice. But the leader of a diocese proclaiming Truth to his flock can’t be left unchallenged. Bishop Tobin was beset by a Twitter mob. He was labeled “homophobic” by the Boston Globe: Providence Bishop faces backlash for homophobic tweet.
One of the bishop’s own priests sided with the mob against the man to whom he owes earthly obedience:
The Rev. Edward L. Pieroni begged gay and lesbian parishioners not to leave the church during Sunday services at St. Raymond’s Roman Catholic Church in Providence, The Boston Globe reported.
“A lot of people have hung in there, but it’s like, ‘One more slap and we are done.’ I am here to beg you — and I will get on my hands and knees and beg you — not to leave,” Pieroni told the congregation.
Got a newsflash for you Father, if the are in your church and are not hearing that the lifestyle they are leading (and here I’m lumping in cohabiting heterosexual couples, too) is offensive to God then you are failing your parish, you are failing the Church, and, most of all, you are failing the people who will never hear repentance preached to them.
After a fairly short period of time Bishop Tobin deleted the tweet and issued a statement worthy of a prisoner in one of Stalin’s Gulags at a self-criticism session.
“I regret that my comments yesterday about Pride Month have turned out to be so controversial in our community, and offensive to some, especially the gay community,” Tobin said. “That certainly was not my intention, but I understand why a good number of individuals have taken offense. I also acknowledge and appreciate the widespread support I have received on this matter.”
Meanwhile, in McLean, VA, another drama was playing out. President Trump made an unannounced stop at the McLean Bible Church. The pastor, David Platt, prayed for the president. As a Catholic, this strikes me a very unremarkable. Every Mass, right after the recitation of the Nicene Creed, we have the Univeral Prayer, also known as the Prayer of the Faithful. This is how the liturgical instructions read:
69. In the Universal Prayer or Prayer of the Faithful, the people respond in some sense to the Word of God which they have received in faith and, exercising the office of their baptismal Priesthood, offer prayers to God for the salvation of all. It is desirable that there usually be such a form of prayer in Masses celebrated with the people, so that petitions may be offered for holy Church, for those who govern with authority over us, for those weighed down by various needs, for all humanity, and for the salvation of the whole world.
70. The series of intentions is usually to be:
a) for the needs of the Church;
b) for public authorities and the salvation of the whole world;
c) for those burdened by any kind of difficulty;
d) for the local community.
In fact, there is even a dedicated Mass, first Sunday of October, to pray for members of the legal profession…I don’t know how that is working out for us, but we keep trying.
I try to stay in my lane on these things as I’m not Protestant, but there is no theological reason at all for anyone to object to a prayer being offered to strengthen and guide the President. As Catholics we pray for Trump every Sunday just like we did for Obama because this is part of what we call the Spiritual Acts of Mercy. Hell, if you hate Trump you should be first in line to demand that such a prayer be offered. But that is not where we are. Pastor Platt did a walk back of his blessing because there were people who were offended at his offer of Christian charity. See my colleague Amelia Hamilton’s post Pastor Issues Statement After Trump Visits His Church.
In the words of Archbishop Charles Chaput could be heard tolling in the distance:
My point is this: Evil talks about tolerance only when it’s weak. When it gains the upper hand, its vanity always requires the destruction of the good and the innocent, because the example of good and innocent lives is an ongoing witness against it. So it always has been. So it always will be. And America has no special immunity to becoming an enemy of its own founding beliefs about human freedom, human dignity, the limited power of the state, and the sovereignty of God.
Getting back to my opening paragraph. You are never going to convince these people not to mob you. You are not going to be permitted to belong to a church, or any group, for that matter, that doesn’t adhere to the liberal secular orthodoxy. No matter how many of the Right People you convince that you are actually a very reasonable conservative who doesn’t take all this Bible thumping bullsh** very seriously–but a grifter’s gotta grift, right?–they still aren’t going to leave you alone. As longtime RedState managing editor Erick Erickson says, “you will be made to care.” If we don’t increase the level of pain we are able to inflict upon them to the point where they back off, we might as well climb in the boxcar that is heading for the camps because that is our destination. And David French and Bill Kristol will be there on the platform waving a cheery goodbye.